Best Bukowski Novel

Ham On Rye was the one where I think Buk achieved his peak. You never how much is the truth or hyperbole, but Ham strikes me as his most honest book as well.


"So fuck Doubleday Doran"
Welcome on buknet!

There is another thread somewhere about best Buk this and that.
I think I liked Women best. I just felt more in his head then, like I was traveling the journey with him.

It really is too bad he didn't get to write more novels. I think had he had more time he'd have really punched some stuff out.


lothario speedwagon
i think he could have written more if he wanted. it's not like it took him that long...

plus, he went out with a novel that it seems like a majority of people dislike.
Actually, Pulp is the one of his novels I haven't gotten around to reading. It seemed from reading the blurb and all out of his character.

Though, what you said about him wanting to write reminds me of a poem he did called So You Think You're A Writer (I think it's called). I think when he was going it would have been easy enough... But you can't say it was automatic. Personally, I think if he'd had more time he would have written more novels.
Pulp is a great novel. It has Buk's humour written all over it; quick witty one liners, plenty of balls, etc. I laughed right through, even when he got bored and brought it all to a sudden end.. It's all one big joke! And I can imagine him at his desk writing it, smoking, drinking, thinking, 'yeah, fuck it, I'll put that in...'

Finally got hold of a Region two copy of barfly and it's not writer protect...but it cost me, so no, you go find your own. It's taken me years to seek the bastard out!
Ham on Rye is my favourite book of Bukowski's. I definitely agree with allnitewatchman that with most of his books you can't tell what is exaggeration and boasting. With Ham on Rye though there seems to be just the honest-to-God warp of time on memory. Also, I have always been interested in an author's formative years.


Also, about barfly, I work in a video store that had a copy and I took it pretty quickly. That, and Factotum.
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It's a hard decision which is the best one, they're all good in different ways. I'd have to say Hollywood is my favorite, both gritty and decadent, with a coherent plot unlike his other novels. Followed closely by ham on rye, then the post office, because it's so raw, then factotum, women, and pulp.
Ham On Rye, so far. I've only read that, Post Office, and Factotum so far, but Ham On Rye really seemed to depict his spirit.


And I can imagine him at his desk writing it, smoking, drinking, thinking, 'yeah, fuck it, I'll put that in...'

He was dying of leukemia when he wrote it, so I doubt he was doing much of that.


Interesting choices. I thought Women was kind of flakey, and without much persistence in philosophy. The Post office was fresher, really good earlier Bukowski stuff. Women fell flat for me.


Women's not terrible, but I do think that love is a dog from hell and his other poems are more indicative of his quality work during that period. That's why I put a poem from that book on my siggie.
His early "choose your own adventures", "scratch and sniff" and the critically panned "pop up books". That is when he shone like a crazy diamond.


It is what it is
A Bukowski pop-up would be fucking excellent... all his well endowed women being chased by little smoking men with little bottles and towering bird creatures stomping around.

Scratch and sniff Bukowski books? That's just bloody disgusting! :D

Choose your own adventure - Poets die in...
  1. Steaming pots of shit
  2. Steaming pots of piss
  3. Steaming pots of pork dumplings

The days run away like...

Father Luke

Founding member
Maybe we always have a place in our hearts for the first.
Ham on Rye was how I first met Mr. Henry Charles Bukowski.
Definitely Factotum for me, followed by Ham on Rye, Hollywood, Women, Post Office, and Pulp.

What's one of his best collections of Poetry to start out with?
Ahh, an old thread. I think that several other threads about best volumes of poetry are already out there, but as I can't be buggered to find them, I'll say it here:

1974 Burning in Water Drowning in Flame is excellent. It collects much of his out-of-print work from the 1960s along with some 1973-74 work. So, a nice collection of his earlier style mixing in with his middle period.

1981 Dangling in the Tournefortia is also very good. Middle period moving toward later period.

1986 You Get so Alone at Times it Just Makes Sense is very good; fewer words, just as much oommph.

1991 The Last Night of the Earth Poems is very good. Later period.

Hell, they're all good, some are just better than others. It really depends on what style of his you might prefer.
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